STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
The Llano High School football team is on a four-game winning streak, but that means very little when the Yellow Jackets begin District 13-4A Division II play Friday, Oct. 12.
Geronimo Navarro (3-1) travels to Llano to face the Yellow Jackets (4-1) at Llano Stadium, 400 Texas 71 East.
The Panthers bring their slot-T offense, a run scheme that uses misdirection to confuse the defense. Junior running back Johnny Alegria has 61 carries for 601 yards and nine touchdowns and five catches for 146 yards, while junior running back Euler Deleon has 59 carries for 360 yards and five touchdowns. Senior quarterback Bryan Butler has 45 carries for 220 yards and two scores.
“They are huge upfront. They have big kids,” said Llano head football coach Matt Green. “We’re quick. Our kids played really hard. You have to want to be physical and intense and take the fight to them.”
Green said the key is to keep the Panthers blockers from pushing around the Yellow Jackets defense.
“You better not get too far upfield, or you’ll create running lanes when you do that,” he said. “When (the Navarro backs) can get inside running lanes, it’s a clear path.”
The Jackets faced a similar offense, the wing-T, when they met Brady in Week 3.
Defensively, Navarro is led by senior defensive end Rawson Young and Deleon, who also plays linebacker.
“Nobody runs the ball inside against them,” Green said. “They’re very difficult to run the ball inside.”
The Panthers had been giving up an average of 38 points during the pre-district schedule, but, against Giddings on Sept. 28, Navarro only allowed a touchdown to a team that was ranked in the top 10 in Class 4A Division II.
Green attributes the Navarro defensive changes to a 42-32 loss to Marble Falls on Sept. 14.
“Marble Falls was able to throw the ball,” he said.
The solution for Llano is a balanced offensive attack led by senior quarterback Cade Fly, who has completed 58 of 102 passes for 946 yards, eight touchdowns, and five interceptions and has 36 carries for 122 yards and five scores. Senior running back Mason Brooks has 58 carries for 298 yards and four touchdowns. Sophomore receiver Case Kuykendall has 15 catches for 275 yards and two touchdowns and seven carries for 101 yards and a score.
The coach said Fly doesn’t have to play perfect, but he can’t force the ball into small spaces.
The Jackets had three practices during their bye week. Green said the practices weren’t game-week sessions in full pads and full intensity, so his playeres should be well-rested and ready to play.